Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Finding" Information is Hard To Do

As a library assistant, I have the responsibilty to help students and teachers with their research needs. The students in particular have wildy different levels of experience in doing research, but they have all have one thing in common: they use Internet search engines (i.e., Google, Yahoo, etc.) first when beginning research projects. This post is not about how search engines are horrible, I use Google everyday, but about a much a deeper issue brought up in the Pew Internet & American Life Project a study about search engine users. The conclusions of that study was that:
1.Internet users are very positive about their online search experiences.
2.Most searchers use search engines conservatively.
3.Most searchers are naïve about search engines and search results.
4.nternet users turn to search engines for both important and trivial questions.
5.Men are more intense and savvy searchers than women.
6.Young users are more avid, committed, and trusting searchers than older users.

This is also paralled in a study done by Jacob Nielsen. The basic idea of his study is that users have gotten better at using search engines, but when their first efforts fail searchers are really bad at finding relevant information. I began thinking about how well we search when I read a recent blog post that more eloquently talks about both studies from an academic librarian's point of view. What type of internet searcher are you?

No comments: